The Irish public is defending Justin Bieber’s right to refuse to take photos with strangers, be they fans or not.
Questions on whether a celebrity has basic human rights of freedom (to walk freely in public spaces without being harassed and followed by others, for instance), and of privacy (not to be filmed without permission) are always hot topics.
For Bieber, the above scenarios unfolded when a random Dubliner, Keith Casey, spotted the superstar leaving a tanning salon on the city’s Grafton Street on Monday evening and proceeded to follow and film the Biebs without his consent while repeatedly demanding a pic.
As seen on the video Casey subsequently posted online, Bieber’s two bodyguards politely asked the local man to stop filming and following the singer four times in total. All these requests were ignored.
After following the Canadian star around Grafton Street, the Irishman asked for a photo for a fourth time.
At that point, Casey either lied or got confused, and said he was going to the singer’s Purpose World Tour show that same evening. However, Justin didn’t perform on Monday. His schedule includes concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday at Dublin’s 3Arena.
Watch video footage of the pair’s encounter below.
“Can I just get one photo? I’m going to your show tonight,” Casey is heard asking Bieber, while a bodyguard in the background requests that he put his phone down.
A visibly harassed-looking Bieber replied, “I don’t have a show tonight.”
Casey then said, “Tomorrow?” as if this was news to him. He later shared his now viral video on Facebook with a caption that demeaned Bieber. He also claimed he was a big fan of the singer.
“Just got put in my place by JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!” he wrote, adding smiling emojis and hashtags that also ensured it was noticed online. “#Sunbed #NeverMeetYourIdol #Twat #PurposeTourDublin #JustinBieber #GraftonStreet #Dublin #Ireland.”
‘Never meet your idol’ – Irish fan ‘in shock’ after meeting Justin Bieber in Dublinhttps://t.co/gZFxXyCUY8
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) November 1, 2016
Casey subsequently sold his story to the Irish Independent. But even though the video revealed the Dubliner to be engaged in persistent, stalker-like behavior, Keith alleged he was left “in shock” by Bieber’s “aggressive attitude.”
“He used aggressive body language and said ‘dude stop recording me,'” the 27-year-old told the newspaper. He also claimed he only got the Purpose Tour concert date muddled because of nerves and excitement.
“I obviously was so excited and nervous to actually come face to face with him [Bieber] that I got confused but his attitude was terrible,” Casey told the Independent, adding he would now be giving away his alleged show ticket. He went on to snark that since no-one was “mobbing” Bieber on Grafton street, he should have taken a pic with him.
— SPIN 1038 (@spin1038) November 1, 2016
A slew of outlets reported this non-story, while calling Bieber a “brat” in their headlines, or taking their cues from Casey and painting him as a “victim” of an “aggressive” prima donna, when the video showed the opposite.
Inevitably, the Daily Mail and other outlets reported the story as if Bieber hasn’t previously publicly explained why he doesn’t take photos. Instead, they reframed Casey as a “devoted fan,” rather than someone who aggressively pursued Bieber for a trophy snap. These reports didn’t view Casey’s following of Bieber as harassment. They also did not include a verified Facebook screenshot showing Casey telling an online user that he wasn’t really a Bieber fan, or his clap backs at critics which saw him use the term “Beliebers” as a put-down.
It’s clear that the Mail, and the rest, deliberately take this line in order to perpetuate a contrived narrative that Bieber doesn’t care about his fans. Because, apparently, wanting to talk to fans at his concerts to connect with them, and not being overjoyed about getting hassled in the street by strangers means he’s “mad” at his fans.
— Inquisitr Showbiz (@IQShowbiz) May 14, 2016
However, if Bieber does still read his press, he can take heart from knowing that around the web a tsunami of Irish non-Bieber fans, and no doubt some Bieber fans, expressed their outrage at Casey as opposed to the Biebs in comments on Twitter, at the Facebook of the Irish Independent, lovingdublin.com, and elsewhere.
The overwhelming majority of commenters said a real fan would have known the exact day of their Purpose Tour show. Other contributors condemned Casey’s invasive conduct, while some opined that buying an artist’s albums or concert tickets doesn’t mean fans, or randoms, own that artist’s “time or liberty.”
Other commenters noted most Bieber fans are well aware that the superstar revealed serious reasons why he no longer takes photos with fans. Back in May, he said the constant bombardment and way people often act around him when they want or demand photos or guilt him if he refuses makes him feel like a “zoo animal.” Some added that Casey’s video demonstrated precisely why the singer felt forced to come to that decision for the sake of his mental health.
Why Is Zayn Malik’s ‘Anxiety’ Rightly Supported Yet Justin Bieber’s ‘Depression’ Dismissed? https://t.co/m0YNIK7IkG
— Inquisitr Showbiz (@IQShowbiz) June 14, 2016
At the Independent’s Facebook page, user Teresa Ellis observed “Seems he asked the guy not to record him a few times and then he followed him for a quite a while. Justin didn’t seem aggressive to me, just wanted to be left alone.”
Another user, TheOnedinLine, vented “What a d**k that so-called “fan” is. Just a glorified autograph hunter who wanted a photo to brag about even if it meant harassing stranger you don’t know just because they’re famous. I can see now why Bieber had to say no to photos.”
Pulling no punches, user Conor O’Donovan, also blasted Casey, writing, “‘His bodyguard was polite and asked me to stop filming’ so I continued to follow the guy recording him against his will and sold my story to independent.ie along with a slanderous headline. My c*** radar is going off.”
User James Joyce picked up on part of Casey’s video caption [“Never meet your idol”], quipping, “Never meet your fans more like. Sad aggressive creep chasing him [Bieber] stickin[g] a camera in his face.”
Meanwhile, Dan Walsh wrote, “Chap made it clear ages ago he doesn’t want photos with anyone and this chap thinks cause he’s on his own it’s alright. Muppet.”
User Steve Guiness quoted part of Casey’s own words, chiming in to note, “‘His bodyguard was polite and just asked me to stop filming’ So why not just do that then?”
Colin Browne wrote “I’m certainly not a fan of Justin Bieber but I didn’t see anything aggressive about the way he acted in this video!” He elaborated, “I did, however, notice that the guy with the camera was pretty aggressively following and recording him! It seems…obvious to me from the video that he was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and just get to his car! Understandable considering the scene that would unfold if people realised who he was!”
Natalie Lawlor was short and to the point, writing, “Eh stalker much. I would ignore him too if he started following me or anyone celebrity or not the guy filming is just rude.”
Addressing her comment to Casey, user Emma Furlong was just as blunt. “You’re paying to see him perform at a concert which is what he is going to do, he doesn’t owe you anything else including photos or interacting with you on the street. Your ticket doesn’t include a free stalking session. Jesus.”
The last word goes to Bieber. Notwithstanding this recent invasive experience for the star with one local, if he’s ever looking for somewhere to put down roots, the Irish public appears to respect and understand the simple concepts of privacy and personal freedom.
Justin Bieber Expresses Gratitude To UK Tour Fans: ‘I’m So Lucky To Be Able To Share This Purpose With You’ https://t.co/VSypeb8fcA
— Inquisitr Showbiz (@IQShowbiz) October 31, 2016
[Featured Image by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images]